Michigan All-Blank Teams: Position Switchers

Michigan All-Blank Teams: Position Switchers

Submitted by Seth on June 8th, 2018 at 4:44 PM

You know those “make your all-time” lists that circulate in the offseason? I’m still making themed teams because it’s easy content and “Make a new website” and “Make HTTV” are in my job description.

Previously:

This week: Position-Switchers!

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Rules: He had to play at least a season or a snap at a significantly different position at the college level (so no ATHs), and BEFORE this position. Jake Ryan’s move from quasi-DE in a 4-3 under to the Mike in an 4-3 over counts; Matt Godin going from 5-tech to DT does not. Neither does moving between safety positions unless you’re a FS who became half-linebacker. Also no pro moves (sorry Cato June), or playing a second, non-primary position (sorry Charles Woodson) even if you won the Heisman (sorry, Tennessee fans, but he did).

Cutoff Point: Recruited Post-Bo, so I don’t have to remember positions from when I was ten (sorry Tripp Welborne).

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    Quarterback: Devin Gardner

    image

    “Wonky throwing motion” indeed. [Eric Upchurch]

    In between the times he wore 7 and that awful Nebraska day, Michigan of the Denard era couldn’t resist getting one of their best athletes on the field. So despite no backup quarterback plan other than Russell Bellomy for Denard Robinson (who’d been knocked out for that nerve in the elbow before), for 2012 Mr. Gardner was shipped off to receiver. At first it looked to be a good idea: Gardner had touchdown passes in his first three games (Bama, Air Force, and UMass). He wasn’t a great route runner but with Denard getting the ball every play the receivers got a lot of one-on-one matchups, and Gardner was a big dude. Then Denard went out and we had to wait until the following week before the Devin at QB era could begin. The receiver experiment thus ended at 16 receptions, 266 yards, and 4 touchdowns.

    As for quarterback, the end of that 2012 season was magnificent enough to portend great things, but the offensive line was never enough. Two virtuoso performances against Ohio State and Notre Dame as a redshirt junior, then a senior year of a lot of heart but a broken body and a coaching situation. If we do a “man I feel sorry for that guy” team he’ll be back.

    Other candidates: Nope.

    [Hit THE JUMP unless you’re an Iowa safety then you probably don’t want to know what’s next]

    Unverified Voracity Settles For Usher

    Unverified Voracity Settles For Usher

    Submitted by Brian on August 17th, 2017 at 12:28 PM

    What, you couldn't get Ginuwine? Swoons are in order!

    No, you're only embedding this so you can use the "Jim Harbaugh's sick beats" tag.

    A Michigan soccer blog. Early days for Michigan Soccer Now, but if you've been frustrated that we don't cover M soccer much since it overlaps with football, they're off to a promising start. Here's a roster overview for the upcoming season.

    Get ready for a lot of Fox. I'm still a little leery of FOX broadcasting a bunch of Big Ten games because their coverage feels somehow wrong. I can't explain why. They've cut back on the robots and band shots but it doesn't feel that college-y, I guess?

    It matters not, we will be watching it this fall:

    Fox and FS1 will be the home of 24 – 27 football games, nine of which will be aired in primetime. Fox will air the football championship game every season.

    You’ll see 39-47 men’s basketball games on Fox/FS1 with as many as ten aired on Fox.

    Fox will have the first priority of games for much of the football season, although ESPN will get first pick in some weeks. It means you’ll see games like Ohio State-Michigan on Fox rather on ABC.

    Michigan is going to be a first pick many weeks. If that means we get Gus Johnson and Joel Klatt or anybody and Spielman I'm totally cool with that. 

    Metagame moves. Ian Boyd on "confuse and clobber," which is a pretty good name for Harbaugh's approach even if he's not talking about Michigan directly in this piece except when he's referencing Michigan's comical lack of preparation back during the Horror. The bit relevant to the modern day:

    The main idea with this style of offense is to use a variety of formations, sweeps, and multiple ball carriers to obscure the fact that the offense is ultimately just blocking a few base run schemes and to provide easy constraints for the offense to punish the defense with. Rather than using the option, the spread, or the passing game to protect the base runs the offense uses confusion.

    Maximizing a market inefficiency

    It used to be that when people thought about prototypical football players they thought of guys like running backs and fullbacks. Elite, physical runners and big, burly blockers who lived for the contact of the game. But nowadays the game is increasingly dominated by QBs that can process and make decisions under fire and then deliver the ball down the field through the air to receivers who are processing and making decisions on the fly.

    It’s not too terribly difficult for a program like Appalachian State or NC State to load up with multiple solid running backs, nor to find blocking fullbacks and tight ends. It’s even possible to find really good ones because they no longer have as much value at the bigger universities that are only looking for TEs that can run routes.

    There could probably be some advantage gained by recruiting good tailbacks and then using something like the I-formation, which is no longer common at all, to feed them the ball. That and great defense is more or less how San Diego State has been winning the Mountain West the last few years. However, that’s not what these teams are doing. Instead they’re utilizing even more old school sets like the old Wing-T combined with modern shotgun, pistol, and spread-option tactics to feature multiple ballcarriers at the same time.

    Michigan hasn't been going as far as the schools mentioned in this piece, but they've shown little bits and pieces. This was more prominent last year when the T-formation showed up against Maryland and the second ballcarrier was a fullback taking a trap 30 yards; last year the relative unsuitability of the fullbacks meant that on anything except a one yard dive there was only one potential ballcarrier.

    I'll be interested to see if that changes this year. The current vibe is that Michigan's going to look like more of a passing spread, but the versatility of Evans and Isaac—while still currently hypothetical—gives them some options to have two potential ballcarriers on the field simultaneously without removing the possibility of having four efficient receivers in the pattern.

    Somewhat boring anonymous coach quotes. SI surveys rivals about the top 25 teams and gets a rather tepid set of responses for Michigan. The most interesting bit is further confirmation that Don Brown will get after you:

    They’re so aggressive on defense, whether they’re playing man coverage or in their zone packages and third-down stuff. Don Brown is the most aggressive defensive coordinator I’ve seen in a long time. That system has worked for him for 25 years and he keeps tweaking. Now he’s got a lot of high-level talent and depth. You can get some chunk plays against them because of all the man coverage, but you’ve got to finish drives. They’re stingy in the red zone.

    This year will be an acid test for the secondary and Brown's approach. Also in things you already knew stated anonymously, Rashan Gary "will be an All-American."

    That is good. John Beilein gets shots up. They are good shots:

    That's good news! The bad news: they only got 23% their shots there, which was 346th nationally. They finished with the 7th-highest eFG%, though, so we'll let it slide.

    Jabrill is good. Surprise. The Ringer talks to Jabrill Peppers about his weirdly insulting draft process:

    He said that “88 percent” of teams hammered him for playing too many positions in his college career and not playing his eventual NFL position—safety—enough. (For his part, Peppers said he doesn’t regret where he played because his Wolverines won a lot of games during his tenure.) A typical conversation with teams during predraft meetings, Peppers told me, went like this: “They said, ‘You do everything. You’re here, you’re here, you’re here. We’re going to play you at one position. How can we be sure that you’re going to master this position?’”

    You'd think they'd ask Harbaugh about that, and Harbaugh would have sworn up and down that Peppers would pick it all up. He had one year in Don Brown's system and played both safety and SAM. I mean, cumong man.

    A couple corrections to the Florida suspensions. When I posted about the seven guys who will miss the Michigan game I said they wouldn't be impactful outside of Antonio Callaway. Florida's 24/7 site has some additional details. Kadeem Telfort was apparently in the two deep:

    Telfort was one of the players that Florida was hoping it could rely on as a key backup at tackle after he enrolled early this spring. He had put together a decent start to fall camp and appeared to be the next guy up at tackle. …Florida's fine if it can stay healthy at tackle against Michigan. If not? Things get dicey very, very quickly.

    And don't expect there to be much impact on UF's DE play:

    The good news is defensive end is Florida's deepest position. CeCe Jefferson, Jachai Polite and Jabari Zuniga have been three standouts on the edge, while Antonneous Clayton has also shown promising signs of development.

    The right tackle gets thrown into the fire against those dudes.

    Quinn Hughes is going to be good. A friend has been taking in the USA WJC camp currently going on in Plymouth and reports back that Hughes already looks like a first-pairing defensemen for them. Michigan Hockey Now interviewed him:

    The coaches have certainly noticed his skating abilities – “yeah, I think I’ve always been a pretty good skater” – and his comfort level in all three zones. The fact that he grew up playing forward certainly didn’t hurt.

    “I was a forward until I was 13,” Hughes said. “Just because my dad was a D and everyone in my family was a D, so I just wanted to be a D. That’s why.” …

    “I think everyone says bigger and stronger, that’s what everyone says, but just get better at everything,” Hughes said. “Even work on my academics – I’m going there as a student-athlete, so to work on my academics as well. I think just overall as a person, as a hockey player, just get better at everything I can.”

    So did NHL.com:

    Despite being one of the younger players for the U.S., he's had little problem keeping up with the pace. His effortless skating and poise with the puck has been obvious, and he's also played well defensively.

    "Definitely the first couple shifts the first game you have to get into it," Hughes said. "By now everyone is pretty much caught up. I feel like I've played really good competition [last season] so it feels kind of the same thing." …

    With the U.S. looking to replace No. 1 defenseman Charlie McAvoy (Boston Bruins), Hughes could be in line to absorb some of his ice time.

    "Offensively absolutely," U.S. coach Bob Motzko said. "Right now we don't have any concerns. The snapshot we have from this week, we're very excited."

    He will instantly be the #1 PP QB and probably on the top pairing. Looking forward to it.

    Etc.: John Niyo on Michigan's revamped staff. BHGP on the Deadspin SBN thing. Jane Coaston on Colin Kaepernick. Am I a bad person if support NJ.com's petulant FOIA of Michigan's roster? The Stephen A Smith tweets in repose. I did not realize this was an Onion article for about 15 seconds. Coach paranoia is fun.

    Unverified Voracity Is Rando Slander Turtleneck Doof

    Unverified Voracity Is Rando Slander Turtleneck Doof

    Submitted by Brian on April 25th, 2017 at 12:59 PM

    When in Rome, kayak as the Romans did. Cesar Ruiz's displacement is an asset on the football field. In a kayak not so much.

    This trip is probably the most Summer Of Harbaugh thing that's happened yet. Except for the shirtless touch football game at a camp he participated in. That's permanently #1.

    I could use more Gus in my life. ESPN's college football announcing crew was decimated this year so I'm much more into this than I would have been previously:

    ...this season kicks off Fox Sports' six-year, $1.44 billion deal with the Big Ten Conference. Under the terms of the new pact, not only has Fox wrested the deed to the annual Ohio State-Michigan game from co-rights holder ESPN/ABC, but it will also broadcast the Big Ten football championship game in December. (And no, the change of broadcast venues doesn't suggest that the Buckeyes-Wolverines grudge match is going to move under the lights for a primetime airing any time soon -- tradition still demands a noon game.)

    Gus Johnson and Joel Klatt might be the best extant CFB announce team and I'm totally down with those guys calling M-OSU. Hopefully FOX tones down the robots and goes with a more collegiate feel for their Big Ten games.

    I am far less enthused about this, however:

    “It’s still a concern,” Manuel said. “The only difference is, the Big Ten and television can assign us to a primetime game and it’s not our option. In November, we have the option if we choose to do so. I don’t anticipate that choice being made.” ...

    “It comes out in terms of we agreed to it several years ago as a part of negotiating the new Big Ten television contract that we would allow up to two games at night,” Manuel said. “Last year for this (2016) football season, we had the option. Next year and moving forward the Big Ten can assign us and television in the Big Ten. In the month of September and October.” ...

    “Jim (Harbaugh) and I have been in lockstep, saying our preference is in the afternoon and not in the evening,” Manuel said. “In this particular case, we have granted the ability for the Big Ten to assign two home games in the evening. That’s where it will go.”

    I don't know if that's yet another Dave Brandon ace negotiation or an unfortunate side-effect of being part of the Big Ten during a period when it's being run by someone who cares about nothing other than stacking dollars. It kind of sounds like the former since Manuel says "we have granted the ability" to the Big Ten. Which is another going-away president from the worst AD in history. Also in "Dave Brandon's icy hand reaches out from the grave": he scheduled Air Force again. Never schedule Air Force.

    Cord cutting leads to other forms of cutting. ESPN is about to have an on-air bloodletting:

    ESPN will part ways with more than 40 people, all of them “talent,” a label that ESPN applies to radio hosts and writers (almost all of whom regularly do video or audio), not just traditional TV personalities. ESPN says it has 1,000 people in the category. Still, you can expect most of the people cut to be faces you’ve seen on TV. In some cases, ESPN may buy people out of existing long-term contracts—as Sports Illustrated points out, that is unusual.

    Most of these folks are probably going to be peripheral folks with few names you'd be familiar with, but the story speculates about one potential exit that would be frown-inducing:

    The New York Daily News has some speculation, including SportsCenter anchor John Buccigross, whose contract expires on July 1.

    Nooooooooooo. Buccigross is probably the network's foremost college hockey proponent and things would not be the same without him. Here's hoping his skillset keeps him on the four-letter.

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    who are you going to believe, your own lying eyes or this dipshit?

    This week in bullshit. Danny Kanell brings his turtleneck to a fact party:

    Kanell is way out of line here. Consider the environment he's living in at the time of the FSU game: various players have outright skipped bowl games and gotten praise for it in the media; neither Leonard Fournette nor Christian McCaffrey has seen his draft stock altered one iota by that decision. Even if Peppers wasn't going to play by his choice he could have just said "nope" privately and not dressed, as is common in football.

    Instead he dressed and attempted to warm up, whereupon he looked like a guy who'd injured his hamstring. So unless he's a pathological liar who's simultaneously extremely convincing at faking muscle injuries, he was, you know, injured. Kanell is slandering Peppers without proof.  Probably because he's dumb as a brick.

    Here's a guy in need of some firin', ESPN.

    When third chances go wrong. If your program has a guy get in trouble, it had a guy get in trouble. It happens. If your program takes a guy with two arrests in his recent past you'd better do your homework, because if he gets in trouble again that is on you. This is on Mark Dantonio:

    Robertson was arrested for criminal mischief* in 2015, then arrested shortly before Signing Day for inappropriately grabbing a female student at his high school. MSU issued a statement about the deep background they did on the guy in an attempt to justify the signing:

    “Our decision to accept Auston Robertson’s signed National Letter of Intent and Big Ten Tender has been evaluated over the last three months while utilizing all resources available to us to thoroughly review his situation,” Dantonio said.

    “Our relationship with Auston began last summer when he committed to Michigan State. When we accepted his verbal (commitment), we also made a commitment to him and his family. We elected not to sign him in early February, and since then he has been accepted into a pretrial diversionary program and must continue to satisfy those requirements. Given all the information available to us, we believe Auston should be provided with an opportunity to begin his education and playing career at Michigan State.”

    He lasted barely a year before getting charged with criminal sexual conduct in East Lansing, a charge that is easily predicted by the nature of the battery he got diverted. The above statement should have read "We know this is a risk for the people who will be around Robertson. Sorry. (Not sorry.)" That risk seems to have resulted in something very bad indeed, given the fact that Robertson went on the lam for two days. Even more ominously, Mark Dantonio saw fit to remove him from MSU's team. Short of failing to meet academic eligibility requirements, when does that happen?

    This isn't and shouldn't be a rivalry thing. Hopefully the fact that I bombed Brady Hoke and Dave Brandon for their useless lies about Brendan Gibbons demonstrates that 1) nobody is immune from this sort of thing and 2) I'm not just a message board dude with my rivalry lols. It should be about what looks like an institution that has serious issues with sexual assault, at multiple levels.

    *[And "resisting law enforcement," a charge which I'm always extremely dubious about.]

    Expected starter confirmation. Chris Evans on his spring game deployment:

    "I wanted to play more  ... But they said 'nah, nah, nah, you're not going to play, you're not going to play.' I just respected that and just back to the drawing board (for spring practice) on Tuesday."

    That is a leader in the clubhouse.

    Red encomiums. John Bacon:

    Berenson loved the game from the start. When he was a 6-year old kid in Regina, Saskatchewan, for Christmas his parents gave him new skates, new gloves and new shin pads. He was so excited, he called his best friend – at 6 a.m.

    When his friend's mom answered, she asked, "Do you know what time it is?"

    Berenson replied, "Yes -- but this is important!"

    From CHN:

    Berenson stepped down Monday after 33 years as Michigan's head coach. He was hired during a tumultuous time in the program's history, May 1984. It was the third time then-athletic director Don Canham had asked him to take over. He was an assistant coach in the NHL at the time. He finally accepted.

    "I left a job making $85,000 a year to take a job making $40,000," Berenson said. "I thought, 'Did I get my MBA at Michigan to make a decision like this?' But it was the right thing to do. I loved Michigan and loved the experience I had."

    MGoBlue has a thing that's more of a pretty-design item than a story but here is a picture:

    9788358

    And Hoover Street Rag:

    Red Berenson did not invent Michigan hockey, that's Vic Heyliger and Al Renfrew.  But Red did save Michigan hockey, first with the Regina Regiment, then by coming home to Ann Arbor in 1984.  He was hired by Don Canham, and he, slowly but surely, brought Michigan back from the abyss.  He won 848 games in the NCAA, fourth most in college hockey, and starting in 1990-91 when Michigan posted a 34-win season and its made first trip to the NCAAs in 14 years, an event they would not miss for the next 22 seasons, Michigan began a streak of 8 straight 30-win seasons, with 6 Frozen Fours and 2 national titles, Michigan's eighth and ninth all time.  And in all of this, in the down seasons, after the Hunwick fueled miracle run in 2011, after Mel left, and we wondered when would this moment come.  Then came last year, when Michigan hockey was fun again and four NHL-caliber players were lighting the lamp and Michigan won the conference tournament, there was the notion of maybe the old magic had been recaptured, let Red have one more run this year and then hand the reins off after one more season.  But, wishing doesn't make it so, and Michigan Hockey Summer took its toll, as it is wont to do.

    Woke Harbaugh continues. Harbaugh on Colin Kaepernick in Time:

    Colin Kaepernick was alone in his early protests last year when he boldly and courageously confronted perceived inequalities in our social-justice system by refusing to stand for the national anthem. At times in our nation's history, we have been all too quick to judge and oppose our fellow Americans for exercising their First Amendment right to address things they believe unjust.

    Rather than besmirch their character, we must celebrate their act. For we cannot pioneer and invent if we are fearful of deviating from the norm, damaging our public perception or—most important—harming our own personal interests.

    That writing style is familiar from the opening video at home games. Feels like every word is capitalized, which is very Harbaugh.

    Etc.: Some Peppers fluff. Tom Herman wants it nice and light. Fart man. John Borton reports that Brad Hawkins will play safety at Michigan, as expected. Graham Couch, man.

    Unverified Voracity Is Good After All

    Unverified Voracity Is Good After All

    Submitted by Brian on April 6th, 2017 at 12:54 PM

    Sponsor note. This here blog is an S Corp, because of this aspect of US tax law as related by wikipedia:

    As is the case for any other corporation, the FICA tax is imposed only with respect to employee wages and not on distributive shares of shareholders. Although FICA tax is not owed on distributive shares, the IRS and equivalent state revenue agencies may recategorize distributions paid to shareholder-employees as wages if shareholder-employees are not paid a reasonable wage for the services they perform in their positions within the company.

    This saves me a few thousand dollars a year in taxes, and is a Good Idea for anyone with a small business. There are many things like this, because there are many laws and more loopholes, and boy howdy it would be nice to have someone point them out for you. You are sensing that a logo is coming.

    hoeglaw

    Rick Hoeg hung out his own shingle recently after working in big law for a decade, and specializes in helping people start, organize, operate, fund, and expand their businesses. His small firm has clients including a national pizza chain and a major video game publisher, plus an array of university professors, entrepreneurs, and licensees. Hit up hoeglaw.com or Rick himself at [email protected], or read his blog(!) Rules of the Game.

    Maybe he's good. Show this to your local Ohio State or Michigan State fan the next time they foam at the mouth about Jabrill Peppers:

    More importantly for your purposes this video offers some clear explanations of how Michigan's defense is structured. Editor Brett Kollman makes an assumptions about why Don Brown put Peppers where he is that are incorrect—it's not because Ben Gedeon is slow, it's because that's how he's run his defense forever—but otherwise it's a definitive assessment of Peppers. Spoiler: he's good at football.

    I got dibs on the swooping motions. Basketball is looking to fill its 13th scholarship spot with somebody, whether it's Mo Bamba or a transfer or an out-of-nowhere late recruit. Transfer options keep popping up, with former Wright State PG Mark Alstork currently the hot name. Alstork's going somewhere, whether it's the NBA or a grad transfer. He says he's mostly focused on the NBA...

    “I’m really taking it as I’m going to the NBA draft and NBA team workouts and potentially get signed or get drafted that’s what I’m going to do,” he told the Free Press Tuesday. “But if not, I just want to have my options open and that’s why I got my release papers.”

    ...but he's evidently keeping college options open, as a guy with a sub 100 ORTG should. Michigan is one of them.

    Michigan is an option because Billy Donlon was Alstork's head coach a year ago. Here's a surprisingly comprehensive and informative highlight reel for a guy from Wright State:

    Not bad, and the ORTG is easily explained away: Alstork shouldered huge usage this year. His 34.7% usage rate was seventh nationally, so there's a lot of Dion Harris "oh shit, there's no more shotclock and my teammates are bad" shots in there. This is why he has a post-like 23 TO rate and shot just 41% inside the arc this year. Those numbers were 13 and 48 the previous year when Alstork had a still-heavy but not absurd 25% usage rate.

    Upsides seem considerable: he's 6'5" and should be plug and play in Donlon's defense. He shot 84% from the line and 38% from three, so he's clearly got Beilein-level shooting chops. He had a Waltonesque DREB rate, and got to the line a bunch. I'd take him in a second.

    Another name that recently popped up for Michigan's 13th slot is Shakwon Barrett, a 6'3" point guard out of Canada who will be on campus this weekend.

    Barrett is a MAAR-style late riser currently with just one D-I offer in hand, that from Tulane. Beilein's done well with guys like that recently, but with Simpson and Eli Brooks already young PG sorts it seems like a grad transfer is a better fit than a freshman. Barrett spent a couple years at Findlay Prep, one of those basketball factories, before a grad-year transfer to Montverde Academy, another one of those basketball factories, so he's no doubt been scouted up and down and passed over by everyone. That's not great; by contrast MAAR just hung out at his high school getting ignored.

    That's good, but that's uh what? ESPN puts Michigan in their early top 25 at #22. That's good. The thing I've seen people mutter about on the internet after they read this article is not:

    Forward D.J. Wilson's game flourished down the stretch to the point that the NBA seems like a foregone conclusion, and that's a heavy blow, at least relative to the opportunity cost of a fully realized Wilson back on a college floor for one more season.

    FWIW, I don't think that's any inside information of Eamonn Brennan has, but rather an assumption—"seems like a foregone conclusion."  I haven't heard anything's changed. The status quo is that Michigan expects both Wilson and Wagner back but they'll submit their names to the NBA, as one does.

    One mitigating factor. This is a quibble in a Jourdan Lewis scouting report I otherwise almost entirely agree with, but cumong man:

    Struggles with bigger receivers. Gave up 109 yards on seven catches to Michigan State’s Aaron Burbridge in 2015.

    On 19 targets. Struggling is a bit much. It is true that NFL QBs are going to be able to hit the windows Lewis's lack of size provides more frequently and he'll probably be best as a nickel guy. I just have to defend the man's honor for that game.

    Slims down to... 360. If you immediately thought "Michael Onwenu," sorry we're talking about your mom:

    The 6-foot-3 sophomore from Cass Tech High School amazed Michigan's staff with how quick his feet were and how well Onwenu was able to use his weight and power without grinding to a halt. Jim Harbaugh and company were focused on letting Onwenu adjust to the college game, get his feet wet, learn the ropes. The weight, surprisingly, wasn't a concern.

    It's still not, really. But that didn't stop Onwenu from dropping 15 pounds this offseason -- down to around 360 -- to help him polish up some of that footwork. He moved extremely well for a 375-pounder. Imagine what he might be able to do at 360 -- or less?

    "I think I want to get lower, just for my health. I don't really have a target, but just want to get lower," Onwenu said last week. "I move better."

    Good news, though: your mom is probably the starting RG.

    Don't do this, also don't have a roofing business. Kentucky fans did not like the refereeing in their loss to UNC, so they harassed one of the refs at his place of business:

    Business at Weatherguard Inc., has become somewhat more normal since phone calls with a Kentucky area code were blocked. Little business got done last week after around 25,000 contacts were made through social media after Higgins officiated the Kentucky-North Carolina game, which the Wildcats lost by two points.

    He’s still dealing with the fallout from those thousands of negative emails and phone calls and the reviews on Weatherguard’s Facebook page that dropped its rating from 4.8 to 1.2. It’s back up to 3.0, but that’s still not good when weighed against the competition, Higgins said.

    He’s also got the unseen victims to take care of — his wife and family, some of whom wanted him to stop officiating after 28 years, and his employees. They were nervous and a little shaky, Higgins said, driving around the Omaha area in company trucks after everything they’d heard.

    False reports were even filed with the Better Business Bureau, using names such as Adolph Rupp, the legendary former Kentucky coach, and Calipari John, a reversal of the current Kentucky coach’s name.

    1) It's a miracle this has not happened to TV Teddy. 2) It was always going to be Kentucky fans. 3) Why does a ref who worked the Final Four have to have a side hustle? Or, rather, why is refereeing a side hustle for a guy working a billion-dollar tournament? 

    Since said refs destroyed the final game of said tournament I think this is relevant.

    Etc.: Incoming C Josh Norris lands at #21 on ISS's latest rankings. Doris Burke is moving to men's basketball exclusively. Indiana G James Blackmon puts name in draft sans agent. I don't know how I feel about this basketball change. Partridge on recruiting.

    Spring Practice Presser 3-24-17: Don Brown

    Spring Practice Presser 3-24-17: Don Brown

    Submitted by Adam Schnepp on March 25th, 2017 at 1:00 PM

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    [Barron]

    Newsy Bits:

    • Brown thinks Gary and Hurst are the best Anchor-3T combo in the nation
    • Mike Wroblewski was talked up as a guy who knows the scheme so well that he makes calls for not only his but other position groups; Brown has to tell him to let other guys make their calls, a first in his career
    • Current combatants at Peppers’s vacated VIPER spot: Khaleke Hudson, Jordan Glasgow, Josh Metellus
    • Hill and Long have first dibs on the corner spots, but the plan is to let everyone compete and see what happens
    • On the defense’s youth: “I’d rather be talented and young than not, than the alternative; have a bunch of veterans and you’re going, oh my god, what am I gonna do?”
    • Devin Bush is flipping between Mike and Will. Brown feels like he’s got three guys for two positions between McCray, Wroblewski, and Bush

    “How are you guys?”

    Good, how are you?

    “Glad to be coaching ball, that’s all I know. Good first day. Guys worked hard, really did. The youth on our team…you know, you can look at it and say ‘Oh, we got a long way to go,’ which we do, but it’s just such an energizing feeling when you go out there and you’re actually walking off the field going ‘Damn, we functioned pretty well today.’ So, you know, excited about it.

    “It’s a good group, but kind of an interesting blend. So there’s enough guys that have been around that will demand execution and demand effort and energy that I feel like we’ll be in great shape.”

    Some of the guys at Pro Day today, Taco and Chris [Wormley], were saying that they think this defensive line group is maybe more athletic than the group that’s departed. Is that fair?

    “I think with Rashan and Mo Hurst…I have to tilt my head back and think for a minute. [He really is tilting his head back.] I don’t know, I’m not sure there’s a better tandem Anchor-tackle in the country. I’m very confident with Bryan [Mone]—here’s the key: we played eight guys last year. Four are gone, but we’ve got a first team with Bryan Mone—and Chase Winovich is such a better player.

    “I think back—I did a bad thing yesterday. I went back and watched practice #3 of spring last year. Hooooly moly. What was that? We’re just so different, and those first four guys are really, they’re setting the tone. We’ve got some youth there that I’m very excited about. I thought Donovan Jeter, his raw ability today, thought he showed some really good signs, which is good.

    “The Sam-Mike-Will thing: getting Mike McCray back. (W)robo, Mike Wroblewski, there’s another guy where I’m watching him in practice last year [and] just can’t even believe it’s the same guy. You talk about a self-made football player, but a guy who knows it all. Here’s—I’ve never had to do this before. He’s telling the secondary, making their on-rights and lefts call, he’s making the tight call, he’s making the detach call for the outside linebacker and it’s finally like, ‘Hey Robo, you need to shut up and let those guys make those calls themselves.’ ‘Oh yeah, Coach, yeah, yeah, yeah.’ That’s how well he knows the scheme. So him and Devin Bush and Mike McCray. Furbush was good.

    “We got Uche goin’ at Sam and Khaleke Hudson was our VIPER today. Arrows up; really excited about him. Glasgow was a VIPER today and that young secondary, Lavert Hill, David Long, Josh Metellus, Tyree—Tyree Kinnel has just quietly done a nice job.

    “So, we’ll see. There’s a lot of youth there. St. Juste, he’ll be an interesting guy as we move forward. Ambry Thomas, again, another interesting guy. J’Marick Woods and Jaylen Kelly-Powell, all those guys are good players. The nice thing is I don’t think there’s a lot of guys that are misplaced. They’re in the right place in terms of their level of competition.”

    [After THE JUMP: on the concept of the VIPER and an excellent, in-depth response to criticisms of Peppers’ game]

    Exit Jabrill Peppers

    Exit Jabrill Peppers

    Submitted by Ace on January 10th, 2017 at 3:11 PM


    Farewell. [Patrick Barron/MGoBlog]

    After wrestling with a decision many thought was a foregone conclusion, Jabrill Peppers informed Sports Illustrated today that he will enter the NFL Draft:

    “It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do,” Peppers said. “I’m choosing between cementing my legacy as a college player and starting my pro legacy. It’s something you dream of when you were a kid. I was torn between the two.”

    Peppers said he ultimately came to a decision this weekend while visiting his family in his native New Jersey. He informed Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh of his decision in a meeting in Harbaugh’s office on Monday. “He thanked me and told me it was a pleasure to coach me,” Peppers said. “I told him it was a pleasure to play for him. He molded me for the next level, that’s how he operates. He runs his program like an NFL team. He’s done more than enough to prepare me for this moment.”

    Peppers leaves Michigan as a Heisman finalist and consensus All-American, not to mention one of the most explosive, versatile, and entertaining players ever to grace the field at the Big House. Whether as a hybrid linebacker or safety, he should be selected in the top half of the first round.

    When a pulled hamstring kept Peppers out of the Orange Bowl, we got a preview of what the VIPER(!!!) position could look like in his absence. Sophomore-to-be Josh Metellus took most of the available snaps at the position with junior-to-be Noah Furbush providing a more traditional linebacker look against heavier sets. Sophomores Khaleke Hudson and Jordan Glasgow and freshman Jaylen Kelly-Powell will also compete for snaps as hybrid safety types, as would Willie Gay if he ends up in the 2017 class; sophomore Josh Uche will push for situational snaps as a pass-rush specialist.

    While it would've been wonderful, to say the least, for Peppers to return for one more season, no reasonable person could blame him for beginning what should be a long and lucrative career in professional football. He'll be a fascinating player to follow at the next level; he was a delight to watch at Michigan.

    Exit Jabrill Peppers, Per Report

    Exit Jabrill Peppers, Per Report

    Submitted by Brian on January 3rd, 2017 at 12:57 PM

    30350510150_4e6e102467_z

    [Bryan Fuller]

    We don't usually put "per report" in these titles but this is on the borderline between solid and, uh, not solid. So take it in that spirit. Per Darren Heitner, citing agent sources:

    While sources have indicated that Peppers and Butt are definitely signing with Sexton and Collins, only a few days ago Peppers stated that he was undecided as to whether he would be leaving Michigan.

    "I still don't know what I'm going to do yet," he said. "I've got some decisions to make."

    That's a hell of a hedge with your final two sentences in an article headlined "Jabrill Peppers going pro," but Sam Webb retweeted it so good enough for me. Jabrill Peppers off to the first round of the draft, where he will create one more burst of "LOL OVERRATED I CAN'T SPELL BANANNANA" tweets before embarking on a long and excellent NFL career.

    Update:

    So that's why I put report in the title. Probably a distinction without a difference.

    UPDATE UPDATE:

    Jive turkeys.

    Mailbag: Pepcat Blah, Peters Challenge, Blueshirting, Western Existential Crisis

    Mailbag: Pepcat Blah, Peters Challenge, Blueshirting, Western Existential Crisis

    Submitted by Brian on December 12th, 2016 at 12:03 PM

    Pepcat sadness.

    30013044393_c0f5db1301_z

    infrequent [Fuller]

    Why did Peppers seem to disappoint on offense this season in the big games? Lack of creativity? Poor execution on his part, maybe from limited reps? OL play? Cosmic misfortune?

    There are many reasons.

    • Defenses tended to absurdly over-focus on him when he entered the game. This resulted in a bunch of plays where his presence as a decoy created huge chunks for guys not named Peppers.
    • Michigan's read option package was basic. Teams started scrape exchanging against it and Michigan did not have a response to it. This resulted in a number of plays that looked like bad reads but were in fact RPS minuses. It probably would have been more effective to just single-wing, or use Peppers as a tailback.
    • He got some bad edge blocking from tight ends.
    • Cosmic misfortune always plays a role.

    In retrospect the QB package should have been dumped midseason, probably after Illinois shut it down, and Michigan should have moved on to something else. They've been good at doing this so far under Harbaugh—fullback traps fell out of the offense this year—but not so here.

    The Pepcat package featured something every high schooler is relentlessly drilled on these days: defending a crazy athlete QB. Michigan is not a spread option team. They are strictly dilettantes in that department. So you had a primitive attempt at spread option going up against the last ten years of defensive advancements against it. That is ceased working after a shock and awe period isn't a surprise.

    Peters chatter, QB competition

    28823053274_8152e81da7_z

    daddy needs a new Andrew Luck [Fuller]

    Brian,

    There never seemed to be much insider chatter floating around this year about how Peters was performing in practice. Obviously last year the big chatter was that, O'Korn was out performing Rudock. Question 1.)  Do we know anything about how he performed this fall in practice?

    Secondly, I for one was pleasantly surprised with Speight's performance this year and I believe exceeded what many's expectations were for him.

    That being said -

    Question 2.) Do you anticipate any serious competition next year between a Redshirt Peters and Speight for the starting gig?

    Go Blue,
    Brewandbluesaturdays

    After a productive spring, Peters chatter went to zero in fall camp. You shouldn't read anything into that, though. O'Korn got talked up last year because Rudock was so bad early and there was nobody else to talk about except Shane Morris, who was not a viable target for chatter after last year's Minnesota game.

    Michigan had determined it was going to redshirt Peters, he got put on the scout team, and Speight played well enough that backup talk was restricted to a few off weeks. O'Korn's existence, meanwhile, kept what backup chatter existed focused on him until Indiana.

    I do expect a serious QB competition this offseason. By "serious" I mean "there is at least a 20% chance someone not named Speight is the starting QB." Brandon Peters is extremely good and should eat up ground quickly since he was not one of those QB guru guys. Speight had a good sophomore season but remains someone else's QB that Harbaugh is making do with, and we saw him switch horses midstream in San Francisco. Speight's weak performance against Iowa and turnovers against OSU leave the door open for a challenger.

    I'd be surprised if Peters passed Speight. I would not be shocked.

    [After the JUMP: blueshirting, sartorial discussion, why do anything really I mean seriously]

    Unverified Voracity Is A Pretty Bear Indeed

    Unverified Voracity Is A Pretty Bear Indeed

    Submitted by Brian on December 8th, 2016 at 2:51 PM

    28810938083_66446c4435_z (1)

    WOOP [Eric Upchurch]

    Exit Shane Morris. Per Tom Van Haaren, Shane Morris will pursue a graduate transfer. CMU is the most likely destination.

    Morris never lived up to the titanic hype that his arm strength generated when he was a high school junior. First, a bout of mono his senior year put him behind the development curve; second, Al Borges finished the job. An inexplicable start against Minnesota in 2014 resulted in a probable mild concussion, setting off a firestorm of controversy Dave Brandon's incompetence stoked until it resulted in both his and Brady Hoke's firing.

    Morris will, but shouldn't be, remembered mostly for that. He was a Michigan kid through and through, to the point where he played slot receiver in the spring and was happily a lead blocker on sweeps. It didn't work out at M; here's hoping he goes Thomas Rawls at CMU.

    We were already banking on Morris's departure in our recruiting calculations, so that won't affect the size of the class.

    PFF's All Big Ten team. Michigan folks:

    • Offense: Amara Darboh ("highest-graded run blocker among Big Ten receivers ... 2.65 yards per route run average ranks second in the conference"), Khalid Hill, Erik Magnuson (2nd), Mason Cole (2nd).
    • Defense: Taco Charlton ("absolutely dominant force in Big Ten play"), Ryan Glasgow("posted four sacks and 14 total pressures to go with nine total defensive stops" in final four games), Maurice Hurst(2nd), Mike McCray("24 total pressures on just 77 reps"), Jourdan Lewis, Channing Stribling (2nd), Jabrill Peppers (as a slot corner), Delano Hill(2nd).

    Peppers was obviously the punt returner; Jordan Glasgow was their All Big Ten special-teamer. Entertainingly, OSU punter Cameron Johnston was the ABT punter and was graded out at –13.8 before the Michigan game. PFF hates specialists, like any red-blooded American.

    You'll notice a few omissions: Mackey winner Jake Butt, Chris Wormley, and Ben Gedeon. Wormley scored around +31(!), basically level with Charlton and Hurst and a hair behind Glasgow. He got left out because of Jake Replogle's existence and some guy named Steven Richardson from Minnesota. Butt got a bunch of pass blocking minuses(?!) and didn't have the same kind of receiving impact he did a year ago. (If we're being honest, he should have won the Mackey last year; getting it this year is a bit of a lifetime achievement award.) Gedeon was +12, so he was on the verge. There were a ton of good linebackers in the league. 

    So you're saying there's a chance. Jabrill Peppers made an appearance on the Dan Patrick show ("THAT'S RIDICULOUS," exclaim Ohio State fans, "MALIK HOOKER SHOULD HAVE MADE AN APPEARANCE ON THE DAN PATRICK SHOW"), and on that show he denied that he'd made an NFL decision:

    During an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show, Patrick asked Peppers -- who is eligible for the NFL Draft this year -- why he would stay at Michigan?

    His answer?

    "To get a degree, to try to finish some unfinished things here, to keep getting better at my craft," Peppers said. "I don't know, man. I've got a tough decision to make."

    I... no. I am not taking this seriously, but I appreciate Peppers making it sound like a hard choice. FWIW, Peppers also said he'd vote for Deshaun Watson for Heisman.

    This is probably fine. Buried at the end of an Ole Miss press release about Hugh Freeze dumping his offensive coordinator:

    No word about the "assistant athletic director for football operations," John Miller, who directed Tunsil to talk to Farrar about getting some more money.

    I throw many shades at uniformz so only fair to acknowledge the flipside. These are gorgeous.

    I miss playing Alaska-Fairbanks, for the 8-0 wins Friday and inexplicable 2-1 losses Saturday, and for the two free games Michigan got whenever they went up there. Also I cannot figure out how to buy this jersey.

    Knives out for Butch Jones. 247's Travis Haney has a feature article featuring an absolute ton of people slamming Butch Jones as not up for it:

    “You talk about the time and place to say something like that - and that is not what our fans wanted to hear,” one Tennessee administrative source told 247Sports, referring to the “champions of life” comment. “That will never go away. That soundbite will never go away.” ...

    “It’s like he doesn’t think he should be there,” [another] source said. “It’s like he doesn’t think he belongs. And that permeates through the program. Everyone feels that.” ...

    “The culture is a disaster,” said someone who works in the football building.

    There are many more quotes from different people; even the supportive folk on the record are mostly talking about how Jones's accomplishments, such as they are, have not been fully appreciated. Add in Jalen Hurd's highly unusual midseason transfer and it looks grim for the future of the Jones regime. Regardless of the veracity of the claims in the article the number of people saying those things, even anonymously, for publication gives off a strong Rich Rodriguez vibe. He has problems of his own making, and now that he's down in a hole the rest of the program is digging for him.

    This is of tangential interest to Michigan fans because of two things: Marcus Ray's bizarre insistence that Jones should have been the man instead of Harbaugh and Jones topping that hot take by hiring Michigan Olympic sports administrator Mike DeBord as his offensive coordinator. The parallels between Tennessee's breakdown of culture and discipline and those of the late Carr era are obvious.

    More Butch Jones. Tennessee just got a commit from Trey Smith. Depending on who you listen to Smith is the top OL and possibly the top player in the country. Tennessee's sales pitch?

    wut

    As Get The Picture points out, their real sales pitch was "we will give your sister money to be executive assistant to the head coach." At least Michigan hires actual football coaches.

    Also knives out for someone you may know. Also in bad-idea coordinator hires:

    I confess that I thought hiring Brady Hoke might not have been the worst idea in the world—look at his track record with under-recruited Michigan DL. It turned out to be... unhelpful. At least. It's possible that he took over a unit so far away from competence that he was doomed either way; it is extremely unlikely anyone will take that chance. Tell you what, though, whoever hires him as a DL coach is not wrong.

    The Counterfactual. The #1 alternate universe of the past ten years in college football: what if RichRod takes the Alabama job? Nick Saban goes... somewhere. Michigan hires... somebody. He probably still fails extensively. John Talty looks back at one of the most fascinating coaching searches in CFB history.

    Etc.: Excellent scouting report on Will Lockwood, one of the bright spots on the hockey team. A major reason Willie Taggart got the Oregon job: Jim Harbaugh. Lane Kiffin still the frontrunner for the Houston job. Me, I'd just hire their DC. Assistant salaries skyrocket, they have the money to pay players, etc.

    Unverified Voracity Actually Isn't A Bloodbath

    Unverified Voracity Actually Isn't A Bloodbath

    Submitted by Brian on December 5th, 2016 at 11:57 AM

    Harbaugh-Crab2

    really should have used this for the bowl game post

    That is a large spread. Michigan is favored by 6.5 against FSU. S&P+ has Michigan by 11.8 and with a 75% shot at victory. Other lines that are already up: Wisconsin –7.5 against WMU and PSU +7 against USC.

    S&P+ lines for other Big Ten games:

    • OSU-Clemson: OSU by 4.9.
    • Wisconsin-WMU: Wisconsin by 8.
    • Iowa-Florida: Iowa(!) by 4.6.
    • USC-PSU: USC by 3.4.
    • Nebraska-Tennessee: Nebraska by 1.1.
    • Utah-Indiana: Utah by 1.9.
    • Pitt-NW: Pitt by 5.1
    • Washington State-Minnesota: WSU by 0.5.
    • Maryland-BC: Maryland by 0.1.
    • Michigan State-Dignity: Dignity by 35.

    I thought a sure consequence of four Big Ten teams getting pulled up into NY6 bowls would be the rest of the conference getting set on fire, but S&P+—which was 56% against the spread this year—thinks almost everything is a tossup at worst. I did not know that the Big Ten would lose the Citrus (which is LSU-Louisville, yes please) if they got the Orange, but they rather sensibly do.

    Good to see that the bowl revamp has added flexibility and created a bunch of good matchups.

    Cole also plans to return. As of yesterday:

    Center Mason Cole, speaking to reporters Sunday evening, suggested that he will return, though the junior was hesitant to commit to anything.

    "Not right now," Cole said of thinking about the NFL. "I'm focused on this next game and getting the win. I'll take a look at everything, but as it stands now, I'm definitely leaning towards coming back."

    Chris Wormley volunteered a return for Maurice Hurst as well. Both guys will be critical starters on next year's team should they follow through on those statements. (Hurst had previously said he'd be back.)

    So we've got that going for us, part zillion. Per PFF Michigan is the best team left out of the playoff and one of the top four overall:

    All four of the teams that will be in this year’s playoff rank in the top five of PFF’s cumulative grades for 2016. Alabama ranks first, Washington second, Ohio State fourth and Clemson fifth.

    The No. 3 team in the country? The Michigan Wolverines. ...

    In particular, when looking at a team that could match up best with top-seeded Alabama, the Wolverines appear to be one of the best candidates. They rank third in PFF’s run-defense grades, second in pass-rush and 12th in coverage – giving them a defense that could go toe-to-toe with Alabama’s and perhaps put enough pressure on Crimson Tide’s freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts (more on him in a bit) to spark an upset.

    They seem to think that Clemson should be favored over OSU, with two bullets talking up Deshaun Watson and talking down OSU's pass protection. We've got that going for us, too.

    Peppers stock. Also in PFF things, Jabrill Peppers took a tumble in their latest mock draft:

    When targeted in coverage this season, he has yielded receptions on 20 of 26 targets and does not have a single pass defended when he is the primary defender (his lone interception against Ohio State was a case of him being in the right place at the right time off a pass tipped in front). He also lacks the size to consistently take on and shed blocks going forward, as the majority of his impact plays this year have come when he has been unblocked.

    PFF has always had him in the 10-15 range right next to Lewis and not a top 5 pick, so this isn't a huge tumble. I'm still confused by those pass completion numbers. Namely where any of them came from. I'm sure Peppers has been targeted more than the two times I remember, but 26? I don't know where that comes from.

    On the postseason. I've been saying this for ten years and will say it until they destroy the dream by going to 8 teams: a 6-team playoff is the best one available most of the time. Six teams emphasizes the regular season since there are home games and byes up for grabs; it keeps the field sufficiently constricted so that make-weights are extremely unlikely.

    This year, I assume that the committee made some changes to the rankings to give the appearance of deliberative thought when there was none. That makes the six-team playoff deeply weird:

    1. Alabama vs 4. Washington / 5. Penn State
    2. Clemson vs 3. OSU / 6. Michigan

    Clemson jumped OSU, and that did not matter. PSU jumped Michigan, and that did not matter. The former was a meaningless admonishment to win your conference; the latter was a meaningless admonishment to win your conference. If Clemson or Washington did not win their title games I wonder if they would have had the cojones to put PSU in over a team with the same record who beat it 49-10.

    Anyway, in a six-team world I bet a dollar the committee finagles it such that there is not an immediate rematch of M/OSU—or leaves a third Big Ten team out entirely.

    This is bunk. There is an enormous Bloomberg article on officiating out there that I keep seeing, because it purports to show that there is a class of "protected blue bloods" that get favorable calls. Oddly, it leads with Florida State getting hosed against Clemson—which one is the blue blood?—and then hits their thesis statement:

    “This is an incestuous situation,” says Rhett Brymer, a business management professor at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He spent more than a year parsing almost 39,000 fouls called in games involving NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision teams in the 2012-2015 seasons. His research finds “ample evidence of biases among conference officials,” including “conference officials showing partiality towards teams with the highest potential to generate revenue for their conference.”

    Refs are partial towards teams "with the highest potential to generate revenue." In other words, good teams. They throw fractionally fewer flags on those teams:

    Brymer’s data suggest something more insidious. Across the 3,000-odd regular-season and bowl games he studied, a bit less than half of the fouls called were what he terms “discretionary”—holding, pass interference, unsportsmanlike conduct, and personal fouls like roughing the passer. Refs were on average 10 percent less likely to throw discretionary flags on teams that enjoy both strong playoff prospects and winning traditions. Brymer calls these teams “protected flagships.”

    There is a less than insidious explanation: avoiding penalties is a skill. Flagship teams are more likely to have firebreathing truckzillas; Purdue is more likely to have a peasant wielding a pitchfork. In such situations the penalty scales are naturally out of balance; news that Purdue gets 14% fewer "discretionary" calls than OSU fails to move hte needle. That seems about right. This is immediately proposed by the NCAA's national coordinator for officiating and then largely ignored.

    About 3/4ths of the way through the thing we get the big reveal:

    While earning his Ph.D. at Texas A&M, he came to sympathize with Aggie fans who believed that all close calls favored the University of Texas. “I reached a breaking point,” Brymer says. Weary of fans whining about refs without empirical evidence, he decided to see if he could find any. “At least I’m bringing myself peace,” he says.

    Yes, but think of all the bloggers you're forcing to write skeptical items in their link roundup pieces.

    Prepare to be asked whether you went to Michigan. The Ringer's Kaite Baker got into Michigan football this year, which was fun until it wasn't.

    Harbaugh isn’t for everyone, but to me, he’s like a combustible acquaintance: As long as you never get tooclose, you can sit back and just let the theatrics endlessly entertain you.

    But it’s possible I’m getting too close. The past few weeks have been a rougher ride, a mere glimpse into the tumultuousness of a typical college football season. Winning the national championship seems like an impossibility: Just getting the chance to try requires a constantly evolving team of near-children remaining close to perfect over the course of a 12- or 13-game season. (NFL teams, meanwhile, can barely squeak past .500 and still win Super Bowls.) Even in a post-BCS world, the scope and sprawl of FBS football means that it will forever be hostage to subjective decisions by conflicted parties.

    Having been kicked in all available places, Baker is probably hooked. Welcome! Here is your pillow to scream into.

    Maybe he is Mark Ingram except fast. Thomas Rawls blew up:

    He carried 15 times for 106 yards (7.1 yards per carry) and two touchdowns as the offense exploded, scoring on eight of 11 possessions. In the first quarter, Rawls found a cutback lane and hurdled into the end zone for an 8-yard score. In the second, he showed his big-play ability by outrunning defenders for a 45-yard touchdown.

    On the one hand, Fred Jackson recruited the guy. On the other, he got three carries as a junior and transferred. Mike Cox getting drafted and having a cup of coffee was one thing; Rawls turning into Marshawn Lynch 2.0 is quite another. He's the most successful Michigan NFL running back since at least Tim Biakabutuka and he'll pass the effective but constantly injured Biakabutuka in a year or two if he remains hale.

    Etc.: Purdue has apparently hired WKU coach Jeff Brohm, which isn't the worst idea. Here's this Pat Forde article on how Jim Harbaugh fits right in there I forgot to link two weeks ago. ND Nation never stops winning even if the team does. Punt John Punt on the Wilson firing.